The Importance of the Cheesy Disco?

I have just returned from the Online Educa conference at which I was part of a symposium panel discussing Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVES). The session was entitled ‘No Life in Second Life’ and was a look at some of the current practices and issues around teaching in MUVEs. My 10 minutes was on the range of environments in Second Life from amphitheatres to ‘cheesy discos’. Each brings with it a set of cultural expectations and modes of use.

After the session the point was raised that the term ‘cheesy’ may not be universally understood by an international audience. What struck me about this discussion was not its content but the environment it was taking place in. We were attending the conference dinner and ‘entertainment’. The venue for this entertainment was an oversized, modernist hall on the ground floor of the hotel with floor to ceiling glass and orange up lighters. The view out of the 12 foot windows was of a stark courtyard containing a number of neat, isomorphic trees and plants. Inside, small groups of smartly dressed individuals stood round in clusters and made small talk while an untidy mass of energetic attendees executed a range of jerky dance moves with no overall style or pattern. The music was slick and very definitely middle of the road.

In short we were in a cheesy disco which appeared to have been designed as a re-enactment of many scenes in Second Life, certainly in architectural terms but also socially. Love them of hate them it struck me that this real life cheesy disco was an accepted part of the conference system and designed to help people to talk and network. For undergraduates the nightclub or union bar is an integral part university life. For online distance students there is no clear equivalent. As we experiment with MUVEs for teaching and learning will the cheesy disco in prove to be as important as the amphitheatre?

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40 thoughts on “Some real data on Web 2.0 use

  1. I’ve just had a quick look at your results – some things I’ve found interesting (such as the fact that post-docs were the most likely to be using Wikipedia!)

    I do have a few questions – in particular about services that you’ve not listed. For example, you’d got YouTube but not Google Video (I’ve personally found that the educational range at Google is better, or at least easier to find), you’ve also got MySpace but not Live Journal (or Elgg).
    Did you give people the option to add extra systems – either for the categories you had (Social networking) or for others (e.g. Gliffy for creating diagrams?)

    It’s useful to have this data though, as I’ve found that I have to get most of the data about what people are using from Pew Internet & that’s US based.

  2. They are very interesting data, Dave. It would be really interesting to show the aggregated data for every service not filtered by age, because I think that this data point to a profile of very intensive Internet user that ran across all ranges of ages. In some way, you take the orientation of respondent towards technology when you mention in the report that “the majority of respondents probably had some interest in leaning online to have initially discovered the page.”

    And a second question, would it be possible to elaborate data on how many people use one, two, three, etc of these services?

    Really good work. Thank you for sharing

  3. Useless questions = useless answers, or nothing we couldn’t have predicted about present and future usage patterns through the age groups. Many different spellings of “calendar” suggest the authors were in such a rush to get this to press, they couldn’t be bothered with spell-checking or proof-reading. B-, must try harder.

  4. Interesting- I note that my age group is left out of the anaylses (65+), and in my experience such pre-boomers are very high users of web2 and the intenet as a whole..and the younger ggrouops *40-65) less so.. at least the latetr seesm to show up!

  5. Thanks for this survey, it was very insightful. The growth of social networking over such a short period of time is really phenominal. I wonder when web 3.0 will start…

  6. I’ve been experimenting with various collaboration & document sharing tools and have discovered an excellent site. It is a very user friendly, web-based application that is well worth taking the time to explore. Take a few minutes and look at Projjex.com. The tutorials are excellent & you don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist to figure out how to use it. It even offers a free version so you can try it on for size.

  7. I would be really interested in seeing a copy of the final report but the link provided does not work. Please could you send me a copy as it may well support my dissertation.

  8. nteresting- I note that my age group is left out of the anaylses (65+), and in my experience such pre-boomers are very high users of web2 and the intenet as a whole..and the younger ggrouops *40-65) less so.. at least the latetr seesm to show up!

  9. Pingback: Eso de la Web 2.0

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